Facebook users will now be able to ask the company’s independent oversight board to make decisions about content left on the platform, not just content that has been removed, in an expansion of its scope of action. functioning.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB ) created the board in response to criticism of its handling of problematic content, but researchers and civil rights groups have criticized its limited mandate.
Before the change, Facebook and Instagram users who had exhausted the appeals process could submit cases of removed content to the board, but only the company itself could ask the board to review content left on the platforms.
The move will open up the process for any user, including Facebook employees, to refer someone else’s content, the board’s managing director, Thomas Hughes, said in a telephone interview.
In a blog post Tuesday, the oversight board said its decisions would include details that could easily identify the person who reported the content only if they gave permission.
In the coming weeks, the board is also expected to decide whether to uphold the indefinite suspension of former US President Donald Trump’s Facebook account, imposed after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
The board’s rulings, which are binding and can override decisions by the world’s largest social media company and its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, cover only a small part of Facebook’s content deliberations. You can also recommend policy changes, but Facebook is not required to apply them.
The board said the new option would roll out starting Tuesday and would be available to all users in the coming weeks.
Hughes said he expected a significant increase in the number of appeals due to the change. The board said it had received more than 300,000 user appeals since it began operations in October. It has ruled on seven cases.
Social media researchers and rights groups have advocated expanding the board’s reach, saying the board needed to address misinformation and other controversial or harmful content that is allowed to remain on Facebook and Instagram.
Some critics, including a rival group called “The Real Facebook Oversight Board,” have argued that Facebook needs more in-depth, real-time scrutiny of its systems and more power than the board provides.
The company and the board have said the panel is an independent body. Facebook has committed an initial $130 million to an irrevocable trust to fund it for about six years.
The board has 19 members, including former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and a number of legal experts and rights advocates. Hughes said a replacement member is being elected for law professor Pamela Karlan, who left her post to join the Biden administration.